The story of a famous Brazilian criminal, called The Red Light Bandit because he always used a red flashlight to break in the houses during the night. Working alone, he also used to rape his female victims.
Our story begins with Macunaima's miraculous birth to an old woman in a tiny jungle settlement. Born full grown, he discovers his life's purpose which leads him and his family/followers on ... See full summary »
Macabea has just moved to the big city after her aunt, who raised her, died. She gets a job as a typist and moves into a boarding house with three other women. In her spare time she listens... See full summary »
Eduardo Coutinho was filming a movie with the same name in the Northeast of Brazil, in 1964, when there came the military coup. He had to interrupt the project, and came back to it in 1981,... See full summary »
Tite de Lemos,
Glauber Rocha was once-upon-a-time a very famous man. A key figure in world cinema. Friends with Bernardo Bertolucci, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Marie Straub, an influence on film-makers as diverse as Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Amos Gitai and countless other film-makers. Today he's practically forgotten by most. His films rarely mounted as a retrospective, inspiring few articles on his rich and complex filmography.
What does it mean to be a fiercely provocative and openly formal film-maker of the "Third World". Most films from this vaguely defined economic sector of the planet that find a Western audience cater to the paternalism of the world hegemony, excorcise liberal guilt and work in schemas every bit as conventional as the worst sitcoms. With Rocha, you get fierce, cutting, vital celebrations of folk poetry, hymns to the landscape of the country that he loves so very much and a challenge to conventional film-making in Brazil and the rest of the world. His career as a film-maker suffered from problems of funding, common enough, and even moreso from the fact that his country underwent a collapse of its democracy which was replaced with a military dictatorship. This led to exile, a stint working underground and in short films.
This context makes THE AGE OF THE EARTH(A IDADE DA TERRA) all the more remarkable for its very existence. It is shot in CinemaScope, 35mm and was expensive and ambitious. It was his last film, he died shortly afterwards and it's perfectly clear from the stunning first take(no titles opening and credits) that he isn't going gently into the night. He's playing for keeps and taking no prisoners. The film's length of 2 and a half hours befits it's truly epic length.
Rocha's style of film-making challenged conventional film-making norms in a way that was totally unique. By no means a minimalist, he created a bold intense style of film-making that featured rich, saturated, loud soundtracks with eclectic music arrangements(cf, the opening of TERRA EM TRANSE) mixed with a tight emphasis on framing and long takes mixed with some of the most intense montage since Sergei Eisenstein's death. Stories matter even less in Rocha than they do in Godard. It's focus is in sculpting a particular vision of landscape, of folk rhythms and rituals.
THE AGE OF THE EARTH begins with a long tracking shot of the sun rising on the President's Palace in Brazil, slowly stretching back, recording the prism effects caused by the reflection of the sun on the lens and then a sharp cut to a rolling sphere("Action" yells Glauber offscreen) and then a frightening close-up on a very ugly mouth that yells, "My mission is to destroy this small, poor, planet earth!" The film then proceeds to a series of episodes that have vague relations to each other(it has been suggested that this film was constructed so that it could be played in any order of reels) yet at the finish of the runtime(there is no end to this picture) it constitutes a clear whole as Rocha creates a testament of his anxieties, fears and mystical visions regarding Brazil - it's various Christs and Satans, the omipresence of Western capitalist interests and a direct statement of Glauber's own political philosophy in his own write and voice.
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